Annie’s Blog

When I first stepped off this wine oiled hamster wheel, others were surprised or even a bit sceptical — but over time, many friends and strangers (mostly women) quietly started to reach out, letting me know they were inspired and had followed suit, or asked me how it was done.

How? For me, it started with a genuine desire for change. Then a very intricate search for a method that made sense to me. I did not want group therapy, I didn’t want to share intially my habit with others, but I did want to find someone who was on the same page, except without the daily intake of alcohol, and a skilled one to one approach that was suitable for my lifestyle, the only name that seemed to keep coming up trumps was Harrogate Sanctuary.  After the ice breaker meeting online with Sarah, I was convinced that her very personal, understanding and empathetic nature was a good fit. Over six weeks, she taught me how to rewire and reboot. There were no scripts or rules, the programme was tailored to me. We worked together for over six months in the end, and still have a light maintenance programme going on, she keeps me on track, but has allowed me to see that I am not damaged or a slave to wine or what others may think of me for being alcohol free.

She taught me about making commitments to myself rather than trying to please people, which I had done for over 45 years. This was made stronger by telling others rather than allowing them to assume, or making up stories about health kicks and so on. Then persistence, dredging up a belief I could do it, staying focused on the positives.

Sarah also feels it is critical to maintain being busy, even through these awful last few months.  I needed forms of joy and abandon in my life to stave off becoming bored and resentful.

Sarah’s programme is goal driven, that suited me as well.

She reminded me that change was a long process and to do it properly you need to have both a reason and the ability.

I had both, she told me — others who wanted to stop drinking weren’t nearly so lucky or priviledged. I had choices — so what kind of life did I want to choose?

Her advice to consider how drinking fits into life goals, along with being aware of alcohol’s relationship to stress.

I found like so many others,  that alcohol is an ingrained coping mechanism and so can feel very necessary in order to deal with stress or help wind down after a challenging day. Swapping that for writing daily to Sarah, became my new coping mechanism, and always journal for my own wellbeing these days.

Writing down why I drank, why I no longer wanted to and what it was like dealing with stress and anxiety without an artificial crutch became extraordinarily useful.

I cannot recommend this wonderful, logical, and no nonsense approach enough.

Annie’s Blog

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